Any Australian lawyer worth her salt is aware of AUSTLII. (Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 20 years?)
As part of my PhD, I am investigating law from all over the world: including Australia, England, Canada, the USA, Ireland, Israel, France, Germany… Australia is streets ahead of any of those other countries in providing free access to legal materials. It is great because it means I can research from home.
Austlii also allows me to research my legal posts on this blog thoroughly, and to familiarise myself with the relevant law before I write.
I think it’s an important democratic right to give people free and easy access to statutes which are purported enacted for their benefit.
But unfortunately, Austlii is running out of funding. The donors who are glaringly absent are many of the firms who use this resource, as well as many of the Courts whose decisions are published by the site (although there are some who give generously). Have a look at this post from the Ethics Forum – Are most lawyers bagel thieves?
I haven’t got much money (casual lecturers are paid terribly) but I use Austlii all the time. I am going to make a donation (as much as I can afford) to this worthy cause. I ask other lawyers and non-lawyers who use this resource to consider doing the same.